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It was late and suddenly the sky lit up with colors. The crackers snapped and banged for a few minutes. Lucky as the photo gear was set up nearby. A few twist and turns on the ball head got me these shots. Of course I had to drag the cam and tripod out on the balcony.

Captured with Canon EOS 7D, tripod, remote shutter release and processed with Lightroom 3.

Happy Holidays!

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5 Hours of… uh, Photography

Setting up started for me at midnight. It takes a lot to set up a shoot like this and it’s not just about a camera and a tripod. Essential amenities are: comfortable chair, good music, snacks and freshly brewed coffee. Not to mention lots of water to keep hydrated all throughout. Now that everything is in place the waiting game begins.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s really boring sitting there just staring up at the sky and watching the full moon turn into an awesome red spectacle. Look closely at the time stamps on the image below and it’s basically 5 hours of just that. Even a movie that long couldn’t keep me. Coffee is truly the binding factor and of course capturing a piece of eclipse history.

Do enjoy the moon in action. Shot with an Canon EOS 7D, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, f/7.1, 1/200th, ISO 100. RAW converted to tif file and converted in Photoshop CS5 for jpeg upload.

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Click for larger moons. Time of capture indicated top side of moons.

But just to break the monotony, a little background shooting had to be. Even with auto focus it was quite difficult as my body wanted to be in bed. Luckily the caffeine was still rushing to stimulate every synapse that needed to adjust and shoot the camera. And shoot we did. Do click on the photos for a larger view.

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Before even the eclipse started worrisome clouds overhead. Almost went to sleep early.

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The EOS 7D admist a quiet night.

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More cloud cover as the eclipse was starting. Very worrisome indeed but the clouds did go away.

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The red moon captured on long exposure at 1024 seconds at f/5.6.

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The last wide angle captured before packing up. This time though of the red moon.

3 Landscapes and 1 Hour To Go

Tonight, June 16, 2011 at about 1:30 AM the total lunar eclipse will begin and last till 7AM. According to one blog at about 3-4AM the moon will turn red with the eclipse maximum at 4AM. It will be a long clear night for some photography however the weather bureau is reporting that a low pressure off Palawan is expecting to bring clouds and rain shower. Well, anything can happen over these skies and it is clear as day outside with the bright full moon shinning up high surrounded by twinkling little stars.

Shooting for the past 3 nights has brought beautiful landscape shots. Each of the photos captured on June 15, 14 and 13 respectively. Yes, the 3rd shot isn’t a moon scape but it was too good to pass up. Last nights moon was the most mystical with that halo. Knowing nothing of astronomy only a guess and some googling tells me the moon is reflecting off the suns gases or something to that effect. Anyone shed some light?

Unlike a solar eclipse a lunar eclipse is safe to watch and will not do any damage to a digital camera’s sensor. No filters required, mount DSLR on tripod and just point up at the moon. Set aperture at f/7.1 and shutter speed at 1/125. Adjust shutter speed after test shots and the moon should be pretty evenly exposed. Remember the moon is pretty much like shooting the sun. Use a slow shutter speed and the moon will be over exposed.

We will try to stay up to photograph as much of the lunar eclipse as possible. See you all at breakfast. *yawn*

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Week-Ender 85

The night before a big shoot, sitting around searching the net for beautiful photos to feast ones eyes upon is relaxing and an easy thing to do.

Stumbling on to a few guys going all out to capture the US Navy’s decaying fleet is something else. Call it daring, call it selfish or is it just trying to record a lost time? Take a look at Inside the Ghost Ships of the Mothball Fleet post by Scott Haefner and judge for yourselves. More often than not, making great photography is more getting there and setting up rather than just clicking the shutter.

Stay on Haefner’s site as there are much to ogle at especially the aerial photos captured using a kite. Clicking on any of the photos below will take you there.

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Photography by Scott Haefner

I frequently shoot in places that most people choose not to venture. Photographing abandoned buildings and other forgotten places, often under the cover of darkness, is what captivates me the most. Documenting our history and creating art in locations that might soon be destroyed in favor of new strip malls inspires a level of urgency not typically found in other forms of photography.Scott Haefner

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Photography by Scott Haefner

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Photography by Scott Haefner

On another front, never before published photos of the Beatles on Yahoo! News. Now that’s a bit of very cool black and whites from the 1960’s.

Photographer Mike Mitchell stands by some of his photographs of The Beatles where they are being exhibited at a hotel in London, Friday, June 10, 2011. The previously unseen photographs by US photographer Mike Mitchell were taken during the 1964 visit to America. The collection of 50 pictures entitled 'Beatles Illuminated' is expected to realise 100,000 US Dollars (61,500 pounds) when they are auctioned in New York on July 20. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Lightning Photography

Another tropical typhoon has hit the Philippines and as a matter of fact, we are still in the throes of it’s wrath. Instead of being cozy inside with a nice cup of coffee the EOS 7D is mounted on a ball head tripod and brought outside to experience Chedeng. With strong winds the tripod had to be on extra weights to keep it still-strapped on a back pack full of books.

Below are photos taken on 3 separate nights starting on May 22, 2011. The lightning made it too good not to shoot.

The sky after a typhoon here.

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A Few Cityscapes

The story started with a Canon EOS 7D and a Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM. Then came along a Nikon D90 and a AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. With the Nikon D300 and Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 ATX 116 finally making its appearance. This round has Canon outnumbered.

The photo outing started off quick as the sun was setting fast with all the purty colors in the sky. But as the sun finally settled and night came there was just too much clouds for star trails. Maybe next time when the typhoon season settles down for some clear night skies again. Until then…

Cityscapes captured in RAW, converted to TIF file and finally to Jpeg in Photoshop CS5.

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Lens Sharpness: Real World Test

This lens sharpness test was never in the plans. But curiosity got the better of me and here it is. This test is by no means a technical one but based on real world shooting scenario.

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The top and bottom sections of Taipei 101 were captured only minutes of each other. The Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM was mounted on an EOS 7D and racked out from 160mm (top part) to 200mm (bottom part). The EOS 7D was then attached to a ball head tripod with the lens IS turned off. No remote shutter was used as it was left in the bag for absent minded reasons and the DSLR’s timer was utilized at 10 seconds for optimum stillness. Pushing the shutter by hand at this point would have spelled disaster in the form of blurred images. The images were, as usual, captured RAW, converted in DXO Labs software to tif file and further processed in Photoshop CS5 to upload quality.

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Tight crop of the top photo. Click to view large.

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Click to view large size

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Click to view large size

Both close up images were cropped from the 2 original images in CS5 to show the sharpness in detail. The original images were at full 18 megapix@300 dpi. As you can see, the cropped images were a small part of the big picture (pun intended). Sharpness is no doubt a strong suit in the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM. Of course, the EOS 7D’s advanced focusing system made this happen in part.

Colors were saturated in Photoshop CS5 using the curves tool and to even out the contrast.

The biggest con of the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM is it’s weight and price tag. Lugging this thing around is no joke and having the tripod ring on this lens is definitely a must for tripod use. Purchase? Definitely but at the cost of US$2,500 it is perhaps better to take a look at the Canon EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM or the Sigma equivalent. Unless of course you are a pro photographer that can make the return in 3 projects.

MOONSCAPES FROM THE PAST

Weather RelationsAn event shoot kept me from a relaxing night photo session. Disappointed with missing the recent partial lunar eclipse I refer to my flickr past for therapy.

I used to sit with a tripod to shoot moonscapes very often. Much more exciting with lightning but hat is a whole different story though-patience and a lot coffee came in handy.

I did a search last night and saw many inspiring photos around the net of the recent eclipse (June 26, 2010) and had me drooling in no time.

These are respectively from 2008 and 2009. For more moonscapes do visit my Moony Moon set =)

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Featured Posts From the Past:

Total Lunar Eclipse: June 16, 2011

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